If bacon makes everything better, then prosciutto makes everything perfect. Having a bad day? Just whip out the prosciutto, wrap it around a chunk of mozzarella and put it on a baguette for a quick sandwich, or skip the vehicle and eat it straight up — either way, you will feel a thousand times better. It’s the Italian version of chicken-soup-for-the-cranky-soul; something about it is just calming and makes you feel like you’re sitting at a cafe on a cobblestone street in Italy (even if you’re standing in front of your fridge at 2 am). So what is prosciutto? It’s a salt-cured, dry-aged Italian ham. Prosciutto is a bit on the salty side, but indulging on a semi-regular basis can’t be that bad for you (this is what I tell myself when I self-medicate with cured meat).
Prosciutto di Parma is some of the best stuff because the process is so closely regulated in Parma, but I’ve tried some local NYC prosciuttos and they are catching up to the homeland. Ask your butcher for a taste before purchasing; this stuff isn’t cheap and you want to love whatever you get. If you’re going to be cooking the prosciutto, ask for thicker slices (about 1/8 inch thick), but for everything else ask them to slice it as thin as possible — it should look like a beautiful meat stained-glass window — a delicate texture to pair with its delicate flavor. Get in touch with your inner Italian and mangia!
- Gnocchi is often made with potatoes, but switch it up and make Goat Cheese Ricotta Gnocchi with Garden Zucchini Tomato Sauce and Crisp Prosciutto.
- Ricotta Pancakes with Roasted Golden Delicious Apples and Roasted Prosciutto is a definite step up from the boxed pancake mix (not that there’s anything wrong with getting by with a little help from our boxed friends).
- If you’re not a fan of lamb, you can substitute beef cuts like filet mignon in Giada’s Prosciutto and Cheese Stuffed Lamb Tenderloin recipe.
- Prosciutto on pizza will never fail you: Cornmeal Crusted Pizza with Prosciutto, Green Peas, Fontina and Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grilled Pizza with Prosciutto, Pesto and Taleggio Cheese, Pizzettes with Caramelized Onions, Goat Cheese and Prosciutto, and Stuffed Pizza with Variations: Spinach and Fontina, Escarole, Anchovy, Pine Nut and Raisin, Prosciutto Cotto and Scamorza.
- Italian Flatbread Piadina with Fontina and Prosciutto (pictured above) is similar to pizza but is traditionally cooked on the grill, which makes for a great party food that won’t overheat the house.